Does your mother-in-law or a co-worker push your buttons and drive you insane? We can all think of a person who creates such intense feelings inside us. In our lives, we encounter people with whom we instantly click and occasionally we meet a few people we simply cannot stand. Sometimes we can avoid such people but this is not always possible if you happen to share the same office or have to meet at family dinners. Although this may be hard to handle, there are a few things you can do to make the time spent with that person bearable. The following are a few suggestions.
- Accept that you are not going to like everyone – Along the way you will be meeting a lot of different people and the reality is you will not be liking each and every single one. This is something you need to accept, it’s okay. You need to find a way to get along during the time you are together.
- Take care of your emotions – Interacting with someone who makes you feel like you are losing it can be very stressful. Remember that you are in control of your own emotional state. If you feel irritated or annoyed by this person don’t allow these feelings to escalate, keep them in check. Allow such emotions to dissipate quickly so that you don’t let these feelings internalise and take over your well-being.
- Control your temperament – When you constantly feel upset by a person and you do not agree with them try to maintain a poker face when they are talking. You may notice that as soon as this person says or does something, immediately you react in a negative way. When you do not agree, try to tackle the issue rather than focusing on attacking the person. Doing so consistently will enable you to look professional and positive giving you the upper hand in all situations.
- Think ahead – Try to be proactive with someone who provokes you. Develop strategies how to react calmly and how to respond in certain situations. This can help you to avoid overreacting to each other and to communicate in a more effective manner.
- Express your feelings – Having an open and honest conversation with someone who annoys you may lead to an improved communication. Doing so assertively and not confrontationally may lead to a productive discussion. Try to use “I” statements so that the person does not feel attacked. For example; rather than saying “You make me feel angry” you can say “when you tell me that I am not capable of doing anything I feel upset”.
- Choose which battles to fight – Some people do not deserve so much of your energy. Ask yourself if you want to be using your time and energy fighting a battle with someone who annoys you. Is it really worth it? If the situation is likely to go away with time you may decide to just let it be.
- Build a support system – Talk to people you trust who can support you so that you do not feel alone. They might help you to be objective and discuss ways to deal with a person who frustrates you. Sometimes you just need to vent out your emotions and once you do so you can just move on.
Patel, D. (2017). 12 ways successful people deal with people they dislike. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/deeppatel/2017/10/02/12-ways-successful-people-deal-with-people-they-dislike/#75034c847f2b
Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties.